A landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court could pave the way for states to legalize betting on major sports, including at the college level.
USA Today reports that by a 6-3 ruling, the court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which was passed by Congress in 1992 with the goal of preserving the integrity of popular sports.
The law effectively blocked sports betting outside of the state of Nevada. The state of New Jersey brought the case after passing a law legalizing sports betting in 2012, which had been challenged in lower courts by both the NCAA and the four major professional sports leagues. The law was overturned, but the state tried again with a new law in 2014.
The decision could allow states to expand legalized sports betting as a source of revenue, but Congress may move quickly to respond. Federal regulation could provide a national standard for sports betting, as opposed to allowing individual states to set up their own rules — a move that sports leagues would prefer.
Sports leagues have expressed fewer reservations opposing gambling, with two of the four major leagues locating teams in Las Vegas in recent years (the NHL’s Golden Knights are in their first season, and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders will relocate to Las Vegas). NBA commissioner Adam Silver has publicly endorsed sports betting, and MLB has invested in so-called fantasy leagues.